>> >> u.s. vice president arrives in beijing hours after blaming china for increasing tensions in the region. [ ♪ music ] >> hello, welcome to al jazeera, live from our headquarters in doha. also ahead: a temporary truth in thailand as anti-government protesters clean up ahead of the king's birthday. protesters in ukraine refuse to back down as the government says it's business as usual. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> and the people's poet - one of the egypt's cultural icons has died. >> the u.s. vice president has arrived in china for a visit that has been overshadowed by regional tensions. before leaving japan, joe biden blamed beijing for escalating the dispute between the two neighbours over the islands. he'll raise the issue with china's leaders. i'm joined by joseph cheng from the university. how do you think joe biden will be received in china after it is clear that he is japan's ally.
>> chinese leaders understand that the vice president will probably try to assume a balanced role. on one hand providing reassurance to the united states most important ally in the asia pacific region, and trying to maintain good relations with china, with the intentions of playing a mediating role as it did - on at least two occasions when the japanese government pertains the disputed island. and when the japanese district court tried to prosecute a detained captain from china. >> is it possible to do both. can it provide the u.s. - can the u.s. provide reassurances to japan and maintain good relations. will the china go ahead with the
trade and business talks unaffected. >> to a considerable extent, yes. the chinas authorities certainly would not make concessions at the open request of the united states as chinese leaders cannot afford. as chinese leaders cannot afford to be seen to be week when involved in the united states and japan on the sensitive territorial dispute issue. i think beijing welcomes a secret mediating role on the part of the united states, as beijing is eager to dees-escala tensions in the region. >> if they are looking for a way to climb down the deescalation ladder, does it mean china is
willing to back down? how much room is there for china to move? >> obviously china will not cancel the identification zone at this stage, but china will be willing to provide reassurances to its neighbours. china will be willing to discuss various types of hot nine propositions, confidence building measures, and so on. one indicator, obviously, was that the chinese aircraft carrier, when it moved to the south china sea, chose to travel within the taiwan straight, rather than to move near the disputed islands area. and china probably will delay trying to establish any similar song in the south china sea area. >> thank you very much. that's joseph cheng from city university in hong kong. thank you. now, anti-government
protesters marched towards the royal thai headquarters in bangkok, despite a truce with authorities, handing the police a letter, calling for an investigation into the death v four protesters. the thai capital saw huge protests for the past 11 days. meanwhile a clean-up operation is under way in bangkok. the nation is preparing to mark the king's birthday on thursday. scott heidler has more. >> and just 24 hours it went from rows of riot police to rows of street sleepers. protesters are taking a pause. they said they would stop tuesday morning, they pulled down barricades. today, wednesday, is the day before the king's birthday. it is clean-up day. this is going to be one of the big sites for the king's birthday on thursday.
right now the protesters agreed to stop everything, they'll move everyone out of here. and now they are pitching in with the city workers and they are cleaning up the area. >> now, the ukrainian prime minister says he plans to go ahead with the camera meeting, despite a blockade by protesters. hundreds are back on the streets. they vowed to continue their demonstrations. rory chalans is live for us. what is happening? >> a little bit of a stalemate had set in. the government survived a no confidence vote. the protesters are digging in. they say they could be here for the long hall. i'll give you a sense of what it's like. the ukrainian winter is biting.
there's a smell of wood smoke in the air. protesters are huddling around. oil drums have fires burning. it's turning into a tent city. every couple of hours another two or three tents are put up. people are banging tent peds into the tarmac. there are portaloos here to cater for people. it feels like things are becoming more and more established. it's morning. people are walking through. there's a sense that even though the protesters have taken over, there's a sense of normality. life is going on. having said that. what is going on here in kiev is not the same was what is going on in the rest of the country. people's political allegiances differ depending on where in ukraine you are. as my colleague discovered when he went to the east. the heartland of viktor
yanukovych. >> a statue of a steelworker stands proudly. this is where president viktor yanukovych grew up. this is his main shower base in the russian-speaking east of the country and where jobs are at threat if free trade with the e.u. ever comes. these construction workers say life for them has had the right mixture of policies since the local boy made it to the top in kiev. >> people here have a normal relationship with the president. they love him. >> the school in the town has been completely rebuilt. the 16-year-old vice president of the student's union proudly showed us their state of the art interactive replacement for the old blackboard. he gave us a tour of the museum set up at the school for its most famous people. he was born into the family of a
metalworker and a nurse. it was a troubled childhood. "i came from a poor family. my main dream in life was to break out of poverty." this is the position and classroom where the young viktor yanukovych used to be as a student. i have a history teacher with me. >> translation: i'm in favour of reforms. each step should be thought about. our president should follow the right course. what is happening now reminds me of the orange revolution, i'm against revolutions. >> events in kiev couldn't be further away. everyone is worried. they fear the investment and the jobs will disappear if the protesters went their way. >> what happens later today, rory. we know the government is planning to go ahead with the cabinet meeting, aren't they?
>> that should be getting underway around now. there are protesters surrounding key government buildings. i think the cabinet should find a way of holding the meeting. possibly the most important is a breast conference being held by the families and lawyers of nine protesters detained on december the 1st. the police are giving them three month's free trials. family and loyalists say they were normal protesters. police say they were participating in mass civil unrest, violently resisting arrest. there's also a march that will happen to the detention center, where a lot of people who have been held over the last few days.
>> rory challands joining us from kiev. the vatican told a human rights panel that it won't share details about historical sexual abuse cases against the church. it's their policy to keep them confidential. the catholic church has been rocked by dozens of abuse scandals. the panel says it broke a 1993 human rights treaty for children. >> one of hezbollah's leaders was shot in beirut tuesday night. the group's secretary-general claimed that the attempts to topple the regime failed. >> the crisis in syria can be sold in one month or two. the military solution is not
viable. to bring down the government is madness. therefore i call on all countries to find a political solution. >> to syria now, where the united nations said up to 250,000 people are under siege and unable to get aid. the humanitarian chief says many more need assistance, amos added that nine aid countries were allowed to enter last month, staving off the usual three. >> yasser arafat was not poisoned. they conclude he died of natural cause, despite finding radio active polonium. >> still ahead - we'll tell you why thais rev ear their king so much they suspend mass protest to celebrate his birthday.
islands. >> thousands of people are protesting over the failure to sign a trade deed with the e.u. in the ukraine. >> a number of protesters marched to the royal that police force, and called for an investigation into the death of three protesters on saturday. >> let's return to thailand now, and the protests that have wound down ahead of the king's birthday. let's look at the kings role in thai politics. the thai monarch is seen as a stabilizing force in politics and is rev eared by thais across the political spectrum. as the world's longest reining monarch he has overseen many coups, and civil unrest. he brought two rival political rivals together in 1992 in a
televised audience. >> our correspondent flaurens louie is south of bangkok where the king stays at one of his palaces. florence, what is happening where you are? >> well, it seems to have taken on a festive air. on the drive here to bangkok we saw not just the thai national flags, but the royal flags lining the streets, people hanging the flags and portraits of the king and the queen along the street, strung on lamp posts, shopfronds, and the whole lot seems to be preparing for the kings birthday. along the motorcade route, which is where the king's royal car will be driving past tomorrow. we have seen people lining up, bringing their mattresses up. they'll spend the night there booking their spot.
that shows you just how highly respected, how referred he is. he has no formal political role, but he's a constitutional monarch and seems to be above politics. he has to be seen as someone with a moral majority, and it's why the government has greed to go on a cruise in honour of celebrations on thursday. >> everyone is expecting the king's birthday. what happens once it passes. are the protests going to continue. >> well, the anti-government protest leaders have already said the protests will continue. he spoke to his supporters last night, vowing that they'll do whatever they can to topple the government.
the main target is the shinna watt family -- shayna watt. they say he's controlling the government. he doesn't trust politicians to be returned to parliament. the parties have been winning elections in the last 10 year, they proof this -- pro thaksin parties. from what we have heard from anti-government protesters, that is not likely. >> thank you for that: >> from thai protests to egypt, and a man who is a thorn in the side of egyptian president for decades died. his work is a symbol of
resistance. he's known as the people's poet. he's died after a long battle with illness. he is known as a man with a sharp tongue and sarcasm. >> at 84 the passionate lover of egypt died in his humble house in a run-down neighbourhood. a mixed crowd of young and old walked him to his final resting place. >> this 24-year-old never met him. he said it's a personal loss. he taught me how to revolt and politics. for those here, there's no compensation for this lose. >> he was a rebel, and pop
culture icon. freedom and justice for all and people's right to a good life, especially the poor. >> he targeted tyre ants and dictators, with sharp, noncompromising poems turned into popular songs by another musician. his blunt crittism of the president landed him in prison. 18 years spent in different
gaols still wouldn't deter the poet. he was a strong supporters of the palestine cause and a critical opponent of islamist parties. >> a social man. he once said, "we are not there to be bitten, not the tongue", and he never did. >> u.s. president barack obama has been defending his flag ship health care law. there has been problems with the website allowing people to buy medical insurance. as a result his personal approval ratings plummeted. obama says the affordable care act will be worth it. >> the u.s. city of detroit has been given the go ahead. it's a blow to trade unions who travel the decision, which paves the way to spending cuts.
it's an attempt to pay off some of the $18 billion debt. >> india is refusing to bundle on food subsidies as negotiations to finalise a trade deal continues as a world trade organization summit in indonesia. hundreds of protesters held demonstrations outside the conference in bali, angry that a deal could lead to the elimination of subsidies. >> south korea's president opened an international fund to help those countries most vulnerable to climate change. >> it is expected to help pour nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions. the money from the fund is supposed to come from the rich countries. only sea has contributed
$40 million towards it. >> translation: according to the world health organization 88% of diseases linked to climate change affect children under the age of five. and this way climate change has an enormous influence on the environment and across human life. it can't be solved by the efforts of one country. it's a task for all humanity. >> an anticorruption movement is looking to break years of dom nation by the ruling congress party in elections in deli. voters are taking part in local assembly elections. the political choices they make this week could have a significant long-term impact on the entire country. >> a huge crowd gathers to hear from the man who wants to shake up indian politics. the election campaign of the common man's party took on a festive feel as it made its way
through new delhi. the man leading it promises to succeed where others failed. voters will have to choose between a new political alternative and some of the states longest serving politicians. because people across the call tall are wary. she was responsible for the 2010 commonwealth games, which faced allegations of corruption. and also accused of mishandling the response to a gang rape in new delhi that made international headlines. >> i don't want to work for any other party, you know. >> translation: the major parties are trying to buy people. they are offering $15 to every
person. >> the challenges that delhi faces reflects the nation's pressing problems. millions are trueing to keep up with the rising cost of living. india's capital, described as a world class city is struggling because of poor planning. but obviousers say -- observers say the internet and better data collection means the indians can hold lead ers to council. >> the election commission can give a message to the parties that they need to field good candidates and not practice malpractice. >> the result will not only determine the political direction. capital, but provide insights into the attitudes and moods of the voter. knowing what millions think and want is important. governing the capital now may be the precursor to leading the
world's largest democracy next year. >> asian and african nations signed an agreement to halt the illegal trade of elfant. the african elephant summit in botswana heard the continent's half a million elephants are at risk of poaching. conservationists predict up to 20% of the population could be killed over the next decade. >> europe's human rights court is hearing whether bol panned posted a c.i.a. gaol. it is said that the united states held and entergated al qaeda suspects. the allegations come from two guantanamo bay inmates, but are denied by pole and. >> every year 3,000 in sweden end up in hospital. most swedes refuse to wear a
bike helmet now. two university students think they may have found a stylish solution. it's been explained from stockholm. >> cycling is a big part of life in sweden. 80% ride bikes for pleasure. only a third wear helmets. >> i cycle, never with a helmet. >> i crashed with a helmet once. rather the helmet than my head. >> when we were kids we learnt to ride a bike, and they never used a helmet. >> two industrial design students decided to create a helmet that psych lifts would want to wear. >> something discrete that goes
with personal style, and wouldn't interfere with hairstyles. >> unlike a traditional helmet the hough dipping is wrapped around the neck, you sib it up and you activate it. now i'm protected and ready to ride. the collar has censors nalesing movement 200 times a second. when there is a crash an air bag deploys wrapping around the head and neck. 300 people sustain head injuries in cycling accidents. any initiative any rider is welcome. >> there's 30 killed every year. it's worrying. we are working to increase. >> once it is deployed it can't
be reduced. some see it as an expensive investment. innovators like therese are hoping it will become an essential part of a psych lifts uniform and turn bike safety on its head. n and this is "real money." >> this is real money, and you are the most important part of the show. so join our live conversation for the next half hour on twitter @aj real money. today the city of detroit got the go ahead from a federal judge to shed billions of dollars in debt in the largest bankruptcy in u.s. history. the national implications are